Tuesday, July 13, 2010

National Corvette Museum's Anniversary Celebration to Showcase Corvette Racing's Past and Future

Display Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Le Mans Participation

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans marked the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first participation in the world's most celebrated sports car race. And this year’s NCM Anniversary Celebration will re-unite Briggs Cunningham’s No. 3 Corvette with the 2011 Special Z06 created as a modern version of the 1960 racer.

"When you look at the Corvettes that raced at Le Mans 50 years ago, it's impossible not to be impressed by the passion, the immense courage, and the physical stamina that was required to race for 24 hours in those vehicles," said Corvette Racing program Doug Fehan. "It was an astounding feat, and the men who drove them have my respect. Regardless of what Corvette Racing may have accomplished in the past or what we may accomplish in the future, we will always work in the shadow of these racers."

Briggs Cunningham's No. 3 Corvette was purchased by the late Chip Miller who went through great lengths to restore the car. His son, Lance, has carried on the passion by shipping the car to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race… a race where it finished first in the large displacement GT category and eighth overall at Le Mans in 1960.

Driver Johnny O'Connell enjoyed the rare opportunity to drive the No. 3 1960 Corvette during a photo shoot at Le Mans. "The race cars and technology have changed greatly over the years, but Chevrolet's approach to racing has been consistent," O'Connell said. "The Corvettes that raced at Le Mans in 1960 were very nearly stock vehicles, and to this day, Corvette Racing is still a tool to improve the breed. The relationship that the race team has with the production engineers definitely benefits Chevrolet customers.”

Lance will travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky September 2-4 with the Cunningham Corvette, and conduct a seminar as part of the National Corvette Museum’s weekend activities. His Corvette will be displayed side-by-side with the 2011 Special Z06.

The 2011 Special Z06 was created by Chevrolet as a one-off production Corvette Z06, the first 2011 Corvette manufactured with VIN 001. GM Design Center created a modern version of the famous white and blue stripe 1960 Le Mans winner, adding many special features. Event attendees will get the chance to photograph both cars together at the Museum.